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Medieval Music Database - Search Tips

As this database includes the full text of a complete annual cycle of liturgical chant, it can be searched for any word, descriptor or melodic fragment. The full text, the liturgical identifier of each work (the name of the feast, the hour and each item in both Latin and English) and where relevant its number in Réné Hésbert's Corpus Antiphonalium Officii is indexed. Also included is the complete melody of each work, the manuscript source used for the transcription and, when available, its modern editions.

any word or phrase in any liturgical text

The spelling of the liturgical texts has been normalised according to the version in Hésbert (when available) or from modern printed Dominican sources. All abbreviations in the text have been expanded without comment to facilitate searching. In the musical editions the expansions have been italicised to remain as close as possible to the original without the intrusion of unnecessary apparatus: thus Dominu~ will appear as 'Dominum' in the text but 'Dominum' in the edition in modern notation.

any identifier of liturgical items

These may be entered in either Latin or English. The standards for abbreviations are those established by the Cantus project of the Catholic University of America directed by Professor Ruth Steiner (eg Lauds, Vespers, Matins, Nocturn 1, Antiphon, Responsory, Versicle)

or the names of feasts in Latin or English

Feast names are given in both Latin and English. The Latin names have been abbreviated according to the Cantus style: thus the Common of a Confessor will appear as Comm. un. Conf, and the Wednesday of the fourth week of Advent as Fer. 4 Hebd. 1 Adv. Searches are listed in liturgical order, just as they are found in many medieval manuscripts, beginning with Ordinaries, then Advent through to the last Sunday after Pentecost, then the commons and finally suffrages and votive offices

CAO number

The number assigned by Hésbert in his Corpus Antiphonalium Officii has been entered for each corresponding item. As Hésbert list texts and not melodies, there is no guarantee that the melody used in the Dominican sources is also used in other instances of the same text. A complete list of the manuscripts consulted by Hésbert is to be found at the University of Regensberg Cantus Planus site

the manuscript source

These are given in full, eg Perugia, Biblioteca Comunale 'Augusta', MS 2801; London, British Library, Add. MS 23935. All elements of the manuscript location are indexed, so entering 'Perugia' into the search window will return all the items on the database which are found in Perugian manuscripts. Entering only the number of the manuscript (e.g. 2801) is ambiguous, as this could also be the CAO number. Entering 'MS 2801' will return all the items in that manuscript in the order in which they are found in the manuscript.

modern editions

References to modern editions of chants are given when available. These may be searched directly by entering their sigla:

AM Antiphonale monasticum pro diurnis horis... Paris, Tournai, Rome: Descleé, c. 1934
AR Antiphonale sacrosanctae Romanae ecclesiae... Paris, Tournai, Rome: Descleé, 1949
GR Graduale sacrosanctae Romanae ecclesiae... Paris, Tournai, Rome: Descleé, 1952
H Liber Hymnarius cum invitatoriis & aliquibus responsoriis, Solesmes, 1983
LR Liber responsorialis pro festis I classis ... Solesmes, 1895.
LU The Liber Usualis with introduction and rubrics in English, Tournai, New York, 1961
OHS Officium hebdomidae sanctae et octavae Paschae... Paris, Tournai, Rome: Descleé, 1962.
OTT Carolus Ott, Offertoriale sive versus offertoriorum cantus Gregoriani, Paris, Tournai, Rome: Descleé, 1935
PM Processionale Monasticum, Solesmes, 1887-93, R 1983
SCH Martin Schildbach, Das einstimmige Agnus Dei und seine handschriftlich Überlieferung vom 10 bis 16 Jahrhundert, Erlangen-Nürnberg, 1967
ST Bruno Stäblein, Hymnen (I): Die mittelalterlichen Hymnenmelodien des Abendlandes (Monumenta Musica Medii Aevi), Kassel & Basel, 1956.
VOP Vesperarum Liber iuxta pitum Sacri Ordinis Praedicatorum, ed. Andreae Frühwirth, Rome, in hospitio Magistri Ordinis, 1900.
VP Variae preces ex liturgia tum hodierna tum antiqua collectae aut usu receptae, Solesmes, 5th edition, 1901.

any fragment of melody

These may be entered in either letter notation or relative interval into the search window. The letter notation uses UPPER CASE for the lowest octave (the graves), lower case for the middle octave. The relative interval notation uses positive numbers to indicate rising intervals in semitones, negative numbers for falling intervals in semitones. Thus DEFGa in relative interval notation is 2 1 2 2; aGFED is -2-2-1-2; the octave leap Dd is simply 12. Positive intervals must be separated by a space, but there should be no space before the minus (-) indicating the falling interval. Thus the opening of Gaudeamus omnes in letter notation is Cdaba and in relative interval notation 2 7 1-1. Note that the intervals are given in relation to the immediately preceding note, and NOT in relation to the final of the melody or mode. It is also worth bearing in mind that a characteristic of Dominican chant is the avoidance of the flattened b, and even when the b may have been flattened in performance it will not always be indicated in the manuscript. In the letter notation the modern German convention of 'b' representing the flattened 'b' and 'h' the square or 'natural' 'b' has been used. Thus the opening of the Antiphon Canite tuba (CAO1757) will be found as FCDab in letter notation, and -5 2 7 1 in relative interval notation, ie. a falling interval of 5 semitones followed by a whole step followed by a rising perfect fifth followed by a rising semitone. The symbol "@" has been used for Gamma-ut, the lowest pitch in the medieval gamut. Repeated notes are not given in the letter notation; in relative interval notation they are indicated by '0'.

Successful searches will return the number of items on the database which match the search term and a list of each of the items. Clicking on the name of any item will retrieve its manuscript source, full text, full liturgical identity, the first line of a transcription into modern notation with cross references to its first noted appearance in the liturgy and to other modern editions, and a colour image of the folio in The Poissy Antiphonal if it is found there.

For further information about PDF files and subscriptions please email J.Stinson@latrobe.edu.au

Content Approved by: MMDB Director
Last updated: 2 May 2003